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Grants to USA IHEs, Nonprofits, For-Profits, and Agencies to Create Teams to Research Equitable Solar Energy Solutions

Equitable Solar Communities of Practice


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Conference Date: 12/01/23
Deadline: 12/08/23 5:00 PM ET Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA IHEs, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies to create teams that will research the best way to reach equitable solar energy solutions. Applicants should have prior experience and knowledge addressing these issues on a broad level, as well as strong research capabilities.

SETO has identified five meaningful benefits that should be included in all equitable solar solutions:

  1. Equitable access and consumer protections, including contract terms that support strong consumer protections, availability of financial products to support installation/participation among all households, and inclusive outreach.
  2. Meaningful household savings, including guaranteed bill and/or household savings, wealth building opportunities, and other benefits such as tenant benefits provided to residents in master-metered buildings beyond those provided prior to solar being utilized.
  3. Resilience, storage, and grid benefits, including household- and community-level resilience, grid strengthening and grid-level resilience, and improved health outcomes through reduced or shortened power outages.
  4. Community-led economic development, including opportunities for community ownership, community benefits agreements, workforce development, entrepreneurship and increased support for local-, small-, minority-, and women-owned businesses, and authentic community engagement
  5. Solar workforce, including policies that ensure jobs are accessible to workers from all backgrounds, provide competitive wages and benefits, and offer opportunities for union membership as well as programs that prepare and sustain a skilled and diverse clean energy workforce such as online and in-person training and education programs, work-based learning opportunities such as internships and apprenticeships, collegiate competitions, certification programs, and support services such as career counseling, mentorship, and job readiness.

While SETO has already begun to explore tools and best practices for delivering these benefits through its existing programming, the agency now seeks to develop five communities of practice to support scaling the equitable delivery of meaningful benefits of solar through equitable solar. These five communities of practice will identify existing best practices, resource gaps, additional resource needs, and other solutions needed to scale equitable access to the benefits of solar. Please note that the scope of this effort includes identifying next steps and potential new tools, but does not include the creation of those tools themselves.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Each of the five Equitable Solar Communities of Practice will be led by a ‘lead organization’, who will recruit a group of approximately six expert stakeholders from organizations external to the lead organization to serve as core team members to regularly participate in the communities of practice. Core team members will work closely with the lead organization of their community of practice to inform and complete the deliverables and outcomes defined for their community of practice, such as the research and gap analysis and report writing, and will help represent, engage, and disseminate findings to the broader network of equitable solar stakeholders, as possible and as appropriate. Community of practice lead organizations will coordinate with one another and share lessons learned throughout the project timeline.

Applicants well-positioned to serve as a lead organization will be able to demonstrate:
- Expert knowledge of and experience in the equitable solar industry at a national level, such as how policies and programs currently function, how well equitable solar benefits are currently distributed, and what barriers exist to scaling the distribution of these benefits.
- Expert knowledge of, and national or regional experience in providing more access to the specific meaningful benefit(s) of the community of practice they are applying to lead.
- Knowledge of, and working relationships with a diverse set of local or regional organizations, academic institutions, or community groups with direct experience supporting the specific meaningful benefit(s) of the community of practice they are applying to lead.
- Participation or leadership in networks of organizations that promote equitable access to the benefits of solar and demonstrated success communicating with these networks.
- Strong facilitation and project management capabilities.
- Capacity and tools to organize and host regular, interactive virtual meetings.
- Strong research and analysis capabilities.

Applicants must represent one of the following:
- Academia
- National Non-Profit
- Regional/Local Non-Profit
- National Lab
- State Government
- National For Profit
- Regional/Local For Profit
- Territory Government
- Tribal Government
- Local Government

Pre-Proposal Conference
Join ENERGYWERX and the U.S. Department of Energy for an informational webinar on the Equitable Solar Communities of Practice and Lead Organization Application process. Participants will be able to ask questions during this session. The virtual IW/OSS will take place on November 15, 2023 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM ET.

ENERGYWERX and the U.S. Department of Energy will host open office hours for potential applicants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared to ask questions. This session will take place on December 1, 2023 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET.

Pre-Application Information
Opportunity Timeline:
- Information Webinar/Objective Strategic Session (IW/OSS) on November 15, 2023
- Office Hours on December 1, 2023
- This opportunity closes on December 8, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.
- Selected Performers Notified: Early January 2024
- Kick Off Meeting with Selected Performers: Late January 2024
- Final Project Results Completed: July 2024

Organizations can apply to lead more than one community of practice.

Additional Information:

Estimated Size of Grant
Lead organizations will be provided $75,000 per community of practice they are applying to lead.

Note: Core team members will receive stipends of $3,000 per core team participant (estimated 20 hours of participation). These stipends will be paid by ENERGYWERX directly to core team participants and will not be taken out of the lead organization budget.

Term of Contract
DOE anticipates launching the Communities of Practice in January 2024. The main activities, timeline, and key outcomes for each Communities of Practice are to be completed over a period of 6 months (from January through June 2024).

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